Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has slammed Eddie McGuire after his Collingwood counterpart was spotted at a Gold Coast nightclub over the weekend.
McGuire was spotted at the Pink Flamingo on Saturday night with his 19-year-old son.
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The 55-year-old is in Queensland to take part in the AFL’s grand final coverage, which will be held at the Gabba in October.
McGuire said after finishing his mandatory two-week quarantine period, he decided to take his son and the crew from Millionaire Hot Seat out for dinner.
While the Collingwood president didn’t break any rules, Kennett was scathing about the message it sent to the rest of the AFL world.
AFL players and their families, including those from Collingwood, are living under strict lockdown restrictions in quarantine hubs on the Gold Coast and in Perth.
Kennett, the former Victorian Premier, said it was “a hell of a contradiction’’ for McGuire to be out and about.
“You can’t have one rule for one group of people and another rule for others,’’ he said.
“It looks silly. He probably hasn’t broken any Queensland laws but he has put himself again at the centre of attention where this issue of conflict of interest continues to raise its head.
“While he is out there jiving at the Pink Flamingo, his players and coaches are in a hub breathing stale air.”
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has defended his actions after he was spotted partying at a Gold Coast nightclub, but another AFL president has called out the "contradiction". https://t.co/jo5VbbPul0— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) September 21, 2020
Eddie McGuire hits back at Jeff Kennett
However McGuire hit back at Kennett on Monday morning, stressing that he wasn’t part of the Collingwood bubble and was allowed to move about freely.
The 55-year-old said he was gathering information about how venues might operate safely in Melbourne under COVID-19 restrictions.
“As you are well aware, I do a few different things in my life, including being on the board of Visit Victoria, and … speak extensively to people in the restaurant and hospitality industry about how we get Victoria going again,” McGuire said on Triple M radio.
“What I did was I booked a dinner on Saturday night – the last night that I’ve got, because the next four weeks I’m flat out doing Hot Seat and hosting and all sorts of different things. I went through the procedure on how you go about doing things if you are outside the hub.
“So just for clarity, I’m not in the Collingwood hub. It was (a reconnaissance mission), pretty much.”
McGuire said he was asked for a photo by some punters as he was leaving the venue, before asking them to “separate” and adhere to social-distancing.
The photo has since made its way onto social media.
The AFL has declared McGuire doesn’t have a case to answer as he is not part of any of the league’s offical hubs.
McGuire has previously taken aim at AFL players for breaching quarantine restrictions, most notably Richmond stars Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones.
The Richmond players are serving a 10-game suspension after they were involved in a brawl outside a strip club on the Gold Coast.
“The idiot soup kicked in on them and they decided it was a good idea to break every rule they've been told for the last three months and as a result they got a full whack,” McGuire said previously.
Footy fans were divided on social media as to whether or not McGuire had done anything wrong.
Yet that young girl could not see her dying father. Eddie is doing "work" as a journalist. How about send him home to Victoria and slap him with a fine. Horrible leadership by him (none)— Adam Cornell (@MrCricketAust) September 21, 2020
Eddie beats to his own drum. Who is going to stop him?— David White (@journoyt) September 20, 2020
McGuire is out of control. Massive problem for the AFL. Absolute disgrace to the game. Time for an Ed exit strategy @AFL— Neil Stewart (@NeilStewartWC) September 20, 2020
Stale air ! settle down Jeff.— Duncan Cameron (@Marder_III) September 20, 2020
I suppose any player whos season has finished should be made to go back to Victoria as well
For gods sake, what are they supposed to do wear hair shirts and flail themselves ?
They've been lucky enough to escape Dans world,
good luck to them !
As long as Eddie doesn't break any covid protocols then no one else's business— Mark McLachlan (@MarkTMcLachlan) September 20, 2020
Meanwhile, Melbourne midfielder Harley Bennell has been banned for four matches and the club has been slapped with a $50,000 fine after he breached the AFL's return-to-play protocols.
Bennell left the club’s hub on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday to “visit an unauthorised residence without approval to do so”, according to the Demons.